Los Angeles March 5, 2013 - Today, Environment California and 94 groups released a letter to President Obama calling for lasting protections for the Pacific Crest Trail from development.
The Pacific Crest Trail and other beloved parks in California have been providing California residents with lifelong memories for over 40 years. With groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council, California Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, The California State Parks Foundation, The California League of Conservation Voters, The Wilderness Society, as well as mayors, city councilmembers, and county supervisors from across the state, signed on, the letter demonstrates the tremendous value that citizens, outdoors organizations, and local business owners place on California's public parks and trails.
"The Pacific Crest Trail and many other parks all across California are where some of our families' most unforgettable memories are formed — our first hikes, our first time camping, our first encounter with wildlife," said Sean Carroll, Federal Field Associate with Environment California. "That's why the Pacific Crest Trail deserves permanent protections from development."
The Pacific Crest Trail is one of the unique, truly Californian landmarks. Crossing the Mojave Desert, traversing Giant Sequoia groves, passing through Yosemite National Park and beyond, the Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, through twenty five national forests and seven national parks.
The letter urges President Obama to protect the Pacific Crest Trail by fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his upcoming budget proposal. The Land and Water Conservation Fund provides our public lands with critical protection from increasing development by giving our Park Service the ability to purchase privately owned land within or surrounding the park that would otherwise be developed and become a threat to the local ecosystem – all without spending a single taxpayer dollar.
According to a survey by the Pacific Crest Trail Association and US Forest Service, there are over 200 miles spread out across the trail that are privately owned. Without protection, these segments could be sold off at any time to developers and turned into residential housing, roadways, or other commercial projects forever transforming the identity of the trail. Currently there is a proposal in the Land and Water Conservation Fund that would protect six wilderness areas that transect the trail. Full and dedicated funding for the LWCF would provide even more protection in the long-term.
The letter details how Congress' annual raiding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund has left a legacy of backlogged conservation and recreation needs. Here in California, the Pacific Crest Trail and many other parks are facing increasing threats from developers.
To prevent huge developers from threatening California's environment, President Obama must address the undercutting of our nation's premier fund for land and water protection.
"President Obama has a great opportunity to help ensure that parks like the Pacific Crest Trail are protected by calling for full and dedicated funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in his upcoming budget proposal. Our parks and future generations are depending on it," said Carroll.
Dear President Obama,
The Land and Water Conservation Fund has a proud legacy of protecting some of the most treasured and unique places in California, including Big Sur, Griffith Park, Lake Tahoe, Sequoia National Park and Seal Beach. These parks, forests, waterways and wildlife refuges are the best of our natural legacy, where many Californians make some of our most cherished memories. Yet many of California's public lands are facing increasing threats from overdevelopment and pollution.
The annual diversion of LWCF funds to non-conservation purposes has left a long legacy of backlogged conservation projects and missed opportunities to safeguard our natural heritage. To prevent overdevelopment and increased pollution from continuing to threaten California's environment, you must address the underfunding of our nation's premiere program for land and water protection.
As a far-reaching coalition ranging from hunters and anglers, conservationists, outdoors businesses, and elected leaders, we urge you to protect our most treasured natural areas – places like the Pacific Crest Trail, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the last undeveloped remnants of the San Joaquin Valley.
We applaud your recommendation of $900 million for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in your FY12 budget. As an historic step towards providing this country's parks, forests, waterways and wildlife refuges with the environmental protection they need and deserve, we urge you to call for full, permanent, and dedicated funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund in your FY14 budget.
The following elected officials:
Councilmember Alexandra Stillman Arcata
Mayor Bill Kampe Pacific Grove
Mayor Bruce Delgado Marina
Councilmember Dan Kalb Oakland
Councilmember Darryl More Berkeley
Assemblymember Das Williams Santa Barbara
Mayor Dave Turner Fort Bragg
Supervisor David Campos San Francisco County
Supervisor David Chiu San Francisco County
Councilmember David J. Terrazas Santa Cruz
Councilmember David Weinsoff Fairfax
Councilmember Dennis Norton Capitola
Councilmember Don Lane Santa Cruz
Mayor Pro Tem Eric Lucan Novato
Senator Fran Pavley Santa Monica
Councilmember Gail Morton Marina
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson Santa Barbara
Mayor Pro Tem Ian Oglesby Seaside
Councilmember Jake Ours Santa Rosa
Mayor Jason Burnett Carmel-by-the-Sea
Councilmember Jesse Arreguin Berkeley
Senator Jim Beall Campbell
Supervisor John Avalos San Francisco County
Councilmember Jose Castaneda Salinas
Councilmember Jyl Lutes Salinas
Assemblymember Kevin Mullin San Mateo
Councilmember Kriss Worthington Berkeley
Councilmember Len Rifkind Larkspur
Councilmember Libby Schaff Berkeley
Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney Oakland
Senator Mark Leno San Francisco
Senator Marty Block San Diego
Vice Mayor Meg Courtney Fort Bragg
Councilmember Micah Posner Santa Cruz
Assemblymember Nancy Skinner Berkeley
Councilmember Noel Gallo Oakland
Mayor Pedro Gonzalez South San Francisco
Mayor Protempore Robert Huitt Pacific Grove
Assmeblymember Roger Dickinson Sacramento
Vice Mayor Sam Storey Capitola
Supervisor Scott Wiener San Francisco County
Councilmember Stephany Aguilar Scotts Valley
Councilmember Susan Wengraf Berkeley
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano San Francisco
Assemblymember, Majority Leader Toni Atkins San Diego
Councilmember Tony Barrera Salinas
Councilmember Victoria Beach Carmel-by-the-Sea
And the following organizations:
Burbank Green Alliance
California League of Conservation Voters
California Native Plant Society
California State Parks Foundation
California Wilderness Coalition
Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers
Defenders of Wildlife
Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks
Friends of the River
Green LA Coalition
Mendocino Area Parks Association
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Mendocino Coast Cyclists
Mono Lake Committee
Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz
Mountain Restoration Trust
Ocean Conservancy Society
Pacific Forest Trust
Pasadena Foothills Citizens Climate Lobby
Pasadena Hiking Pacers
Planning & Conservation League
Ponoma Valley Audobon Society
Redwood Coast Land Conservancy
Redwood Unit, Backcountry Horsemen of California
Salmon Protection and Restoration Network
San Francisco Naturalist Society
Santa Cruz Fruit Tree Project
Santa Cruz Hub for Sustainable Living
Save the Frogs!
Sierra Pacific Flyfisheries
Smith River Alliance
Southwest Council - International Federation of Fly Fishers
Students for the Bernard Field Station
Students Promoting Environmental Action and Responsibility
The Conservation Fund
The Trust for Public Land
The Wilderness Society
Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants
Transition Santa Cruz
Ventana Wilderness Alliance
Ventana Wildlife Society
Environment California is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.environmentcalifornia.org
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